It was in class when I realised that I need to lock my Mac when I had to go to the bathroom, but couldn’t because I didn’t know how to. I didn’t mean a physical lock, but locking my system from other people. Windows has a function that you could just hit Windows Key + L, and your system would be locked, meaning you’d have to enter a password before you can use your computer.

So I poked around, and found out that you could configure your Mac to ask for a password when woken from sleep or the screen saver. To do so, go to System Preferences >> Security, and check the box for “Require password to wake this computer from sleep or screen saver”.

However, I didn’t like this method because of the lack of control, and I didn’t want to enter a password every time I woke my Mac up from sleep. So I went looking around for another method to lock the Mac, and found that you could enable “Fast user switching” in System Preferences >> Accounts >> Login Options

mac enable fast user switching

This will place your user name in the menu bar at the top of the screen, which I thought was pretty neat. By clicking on your name, you can choose the “Login Window” option and you’ll be shown a login screen. Now your Mac is effectively locked!

fast user switching mac screenshot

This method is great because all your stuff is left as it is – open files, current working documents, everything.

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